Speedy Ortiz w. Krill, Two Inch Astronaut, Sainthood
Gabe’s — Sunday, May 3 at 8 p.m.
Frequently compared to bands like Pavement and Dinosaur Jr., it’s fitting that Speedy Ortiz is performing this Sunday at Gabe’s, the go-to spot in Iowa City for all indie rock acts during the ’90s. The band will no doubt evoke some nostalgia for anyone who knew that era firsthand, but far more satisfying is the way in which Speedy Ortiz offers a fresh take on a rock format many have written off. With a raw, guitar-driven edge and sharp, often pointed, lyricism, all layered over a base of tightly written song arrangements, the band exudes a youthful vitality that that grounds its entirely in the present.
The driving creative force behind Speedy Ortiz is its frontwoman Sadie Dupuis. She started Speedy Ortiz as a solo project and has been responsible for much of the direction its taken since, including the group’s highly-praised new album Foil Deer, released last week.
While the group’s previous albums were recorded over a period of a few days, Speedy Ortiz was afforded much more studio time with Foil Deer and Dupuis, along with the rest of the group, spent it finding a more intricate sound, especially rhythmically. On “Puffer,” for example, the group moves away from its consistently alt-rock sound to flirt with a kind of droney R&B vibe.
Dupuis, who holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Amherst, is lyrically as strong as ever, but on Foil Deer she stretches the scope of her content form personal matters to more universal concerns. For instance, the song “Raising the Skate,” serves as a feminist pride anthem, whose refrain, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” references the “ban bossy” campaign.
Dupuis’s words are just as satisfying on the page as they are on a track, which makes the inclusion of a chapbook with Foil Deer particular enjoyable package.